In my first Travelogue I noted that I had the NPC Project mod installed which adds new romances and numerous banters in the style of Baldur's Gate 2 to the numerous Sword Coast NPCs. I'd like to take the time to discuss these and give an in-depth impression of what I've witnessed so far.
To recap, my party of adventurers has been:
- Nikola (charname, my protagonist) - Shapeshifter druid
- Imoen - thief dual-classed to mage
- Ajantis - paladin
- Kivan - ranger
- Branwen - Battleguard of Tempus (cleric)
- Coran - fighter/thief (multi-class)
Ajantis - The original game did very little to elaborate upon Ajantis' fiction. All we knew, essentially, is that he is a Squire in the order of Helm. With the mod, we see his ruminations as a young man working towards a greater goal. Ajantis is an idealist as per his catchphrase: "My life is my honor." But we do see him doubt his own viewpoints on justice. Conversations with Ajantis lead us to understand that he is practically the most "normal" of any individual within the Baldur's Gate legacy. He's not a secret agent with the harpers, he is not driven mentally insane by the gods, doesn't carry a space hamster with him, or any other such eccentricities. He is a noble man from a proper upbringing in Waterdeep, yet he never seems snobbish (although you are provided plenty of opportunities to call him the "rich kid"). He has an awkwardly traditional approach towards courting women: offering to help carry travel gear, preparing a proper campsite, and the occasional comment that seems to make him boyishly uncomfortable. The NPC mod makes Ajantis into an excellent companion, now all he needs is a better dexterity score. I'd highly recommend him with the NPC mod for a good party.
Kivan - A wandering ranger who anguishes over the death of his dear wife. Kivan is the traditional ranger that everyone loves. He has that thirst for justice like Ajantis and has keen insights into the world around him. He'll make comments along your journey that let you know he's well-traveled. Some might think that Kivan is somewhat whiny, dealing with the death of his wife, and he even recounts the deaths of his brothers. The player has plenty of dialogue options to call Kivan a whiner but to also listen to him and help him cope as a friend. With him you'll learn more about his home city, sea elves, and other such goodies. His banter song is a very nice "Native American" style piece. He's a strong and reliable companion to have at your side. I'd highly recommend him with the NPC mod for a good party.
Coran - I recuited Coran because I had never utilized him before and I thought his bow arm would be a strong addition. He also has a new (adult-content) romance for female characters as well as romance conflicts with Ajantis and Xan. Coran is that roguish womanizer that never gives up. Never. His pursuits are likely to drive some to murderous ends (I mean he is pursuing a child of Bhaal after all). Quite often Coran will stop the party just to make quips and witty remarks about how your eyes are gems and how he is staring at your breasts. He'll stop to talk to you before and after sleep, tell you how he dreamed about you during it, and always want to make advances towards you. It's like this guy has no other life than to get it on with the ladies. Unfortunately it's just annoying. He only really mocks Ajantis, who is mostly the quiet romantic, and not in very interesting ways. I don't think my comments are on the quality of the mod per se, but on Coran's poor character. Not every character can be as likeable as Minsc or as admirable as Ajantis, but Coran is flat out a pain in the butt. Once Imoen was regained her thieving abilities (Level 5 Mage/Level 4 Thief) I left Coran in Beregost never to be seen from or flirted with again. Females beware.
Branwen - Honestly, Branwen has not had very many interjections. She did stop me to talk about how she doubted her abilities as a warrior. Once she discovered that I was full of doubts about everything she quickly recounted and felt reassured. Branwen has not been very open but on occasion has stopped to talk to Ajantis about bedtime "relaxations" which he nervously rebuffed. Branwen is supposed to have a male romance with the NPC Project but since I'm female I'll have to experience it another time. Her added "banter song" is excellent with a very Conan-like drum beat and female chanting.
Imoen - mostly what I know of Imoen is what happens to her in the second game. The poor girl is kidnapped and magically tortured in the dungeons of Joneleth Irenicus. The second game is a dark chapter for Imoen which makes the return to the first game seem very strange and almost out of place. When Imoen joins up with you she is just a tag-along roguish kid. A teenager I suppose. She makes goofy quips and oddball remarks that the player may either criticize, reluctantly embrace, or simply ignore. She is a very light-hearted soul that wants to grow as an adventurer and really wants to be a part of your team. It would be nice if she would chatter with the other NPCs more often. All of this somewhat silly interactions with Imoen made me realize that what lay in wait for her (in Baldur's Gate 2) would be all the more horrific since I had spent so much time with the fun-loving Imoen who hadn't yet had her "soul raped" by Irenicus. I always include her in my BG2 party and if you plan to on your next BG2 run I would suggest spending some time with the "young" Imoen before she's damaged goods.
Until next time, happy adventuring!